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Nutrition is the crucial aspect that both elite & recreational runners should consider when training for a race. Eating a proper diet not only maintains good health but also helps to improve performance.

The most common question a recreational or a new runner have is what to eat before, during & after running?

Well, there are some basic guidelines for a runner's diet that can help you get started. A balanced diet for healthy runners should include all the essentials carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals. (1)


Carbohydrate is the critical fuel source for exercise, because it is broken down into glucose, which is the body’s preferred energy source. Carbohydrates should make up about 45% to 65% of total calorie intake for most runners.

It takes around 500g of carbohydrate to fill your glycogen stores and this will last you for 60-90 minutes of running. The faster you go, the sooner your stores will deplete.

So, planning carbohydrate intake is vital during the training to figure out the amount you need depending on the duration, distance and intensity of your training.


Protein repairs exercise-induced muscle damage, reduces the response from the stress hormone cortisol and even helps speed glycogen replacement which is lost during the run. Protein should make up about 10% to 35% of your daily intake.

Dietary fats regulate hormones and help the body absorb certain vitamins. It also works to reduce inflammation in the body, which is necessary for long-distance runners to help alleviate muscle soreness and boost the immune system. Healthy fat should constitute not more than 20-35% of your daily intake.


People often neglect hydration but it is a key component for runners. It is important to hydrate in moderation. When core body temperature rises owing to dehydration, blood volume decreases, resulting in an increased heart rate, which accelerates fatigue.

If you are drinking water steadily throughout the day, there is little need to drink a large amount prior to your run.


A high-fiber diet can affect the digestive system and make runners uncomfortable. Common symptoms associated with a high fiber diet include gas and bloating, diarrhoea, and feeling uncomfortably full.

Furthermore, fiber takes up water and thus can leave you feeling heavy. So, it is best to avoid fibre rich foods before the run.

Important points to note for your upcoming RACE DAY

  • Eat the foods that worked best for you during your training and avoid trying anything new.

  • For longer distance running carbohydrate loading over the 24-48 hours before the event can help to increase glycogen stores, improving fuel availability during the event.

  • Consuming low fibre foods, reducing high protein or high fat foods over the last 12-24 hours before the event can help to reduce the risk of stomach upset during the race.

  • Hydrated before, during & after the run. If you are running more than an hour, sports drink is the best choice.

  • For an early morning race, a light, low fibre carbohydrate-rich snack can be eaten 1-2 hours before the race.

  • Post running, eat a meal containing protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. Providing your body with the right mix of nutrients will allow it to recover quicker and to its full capacity. Additionally, this meal should include water and fluids rich in electrolytes.

List of foods to eat before a run

- Banana (w/o nut butter) or Orange

- Bread Toast & Peanut Butter

- Energy Bar

- Bread toast & scrambled egg whites

- Low Fat Yogurt

- Overnight Oats

- Fruit Smoothie

List of snacks & meal to eat after a run

- Fresh fruit smoothie with peanut butter

- Chicken/Fish with Rice & vegetables

- Oatmeal with loaded fruits & nuts

- Salted Nuts (peanut, pista, almonds etc)

- Sprouts salad (chickpea, green gram)

- Omelette with veggies & greens

- Bread toast with nut butter & avocado

What works for you may be different than what works for other runners, so the smartest choice is to track your food intake and how it makes you feel during training. Then you can have a clear understanding of how your nutrition is affecting you and make adjustments. The key is to going with what works best for your body, so you'll have your best race day ever.


Struggling to find the best diet plan for you? Contact us and we will be happy to help you find the perfect nutrition plan which works best for your body. Book appointment for online nutrition consultation at +91 8904194508 or write to us at